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Posts from the ‘Chicken’ Category

Well, well, well… (remember me?)


This poor little blog has been neglected the last couple of months by yours truly.  Blame my new job!  I’ve been traveling like crazy and have hardly been home to cook.  So to talk you into sticking around…here’s as much of a post as I can get out there.

Let’s start with the most recent addition to our kitchen…

For my birthday, Woody gave me a baking steel, from Modernist Cuisine. Which is very cute and thoughtful…he really knows the way to my heart.  It’s through Pizza!  And a couple of nights ago…the first time, we’ve both been in town at the same time in weeks, we made one of these…

…actually we made two…and left only crumbs!

This is the closest we have come to making Neapolitan style pizzeria pizza, with a blistered crust, fresh buffalo mozzarella, San Marzano tomatoes and fresh basil.  I can’t wait to have it again!

I recently taught a 10 day course in Chico, CA and during a free afternoon, found myself touring the Sierra Nevada Brewery, which of course finishes with a tasting.  The hoppier the beer the better!  I loved the Hoptimum – it has an IBU (International Bitterness Unit) 100.  And their dry hop cold storage room smelled amazing!

Their operation is impressive, even more so because of their emphasis on being green! (Large solar array, hydrogen fuel cells, water treatment plant, etc.)  I really enjoyed Chico…quite a fun little town.  Of particular note is Chico Chai, Avocado Peach Margaritas at this place, and breakfast at Cafe Coda.

Feeling like something on the lighter side…

I experimented with a cold Soba noodle salad with seared tofu, sautéed mushrooms, steamed broccoli and fresh snow peas with a carrot, ginger miso dressing.  It needs a little tweaking, but certainly filled our bellies!

In early May, I had a craving for Chicken Tortilla Soup and whipped this up!

Those are house-fried tortilla strips on top, and the bowl is not ready until you’ve squeezed some fresh lime juice over the top and added fresh avocado as well!

Woody ordered some chile powders from New Mexico and was intrigued by this Blue Corn Pancake Mix.  We threw a batch together one morning, and can now speak from experience…it’s delicious!

Reaching way back (like late April), we made this awesome salad with roasted golden beets, fresh hazelnuts from Oregon, bacon and goat cheese!

I’m about to hit the road again tomorrow and I’ll be gone until the end of June.  I’m SOOOOO looking forward to July, summer produce at the farmer’s market, time to cook, patio sitting and a few slow weeks!

Until July…

Cheers!

 

Chicken Piccata


This is pure comfort food for me.

Chicken Piccata was a standard in our household when I was growing up.  Although for a while it was referred to Tonkatsu Chicken as my brothers and I preferred to dip our chicken in Tonkatsu sauce (basically a Japanese Worcestershire sauce) rather than squeezing fresh lemon over the top.  

I digress.  This is such a simple dish…and very easy to make on a weeknight as well.  Although I don’t have a crowd to feed…it was always a crowd-pleaser.  The chicken breasts I used were humongous…I probably should have cut each one in half once I had pounded them and saved half of the meat for another meal.  But it did make for some great leftovers, so I can’t complain.

Chicken Piccata

2 chicken breasts, pounded thin
2 eggs
1 cup flour
1-2 cups of breadcrumbs (panko or regular)
2 lemons (1 sliced and 1 juiced with seeds removed)
1-2 tbsp. capers
1 bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
2-4 tbsp. of butter
½ cup of white wine

First, place 1 chicken breast in a gallon size ziplock bag and using a meat pounder or rolling-pin, pound each breast until it is about ¼ to ½ inch thick.  This helps tenderize the meat and will help it to cook evenly and much faster.  Next, open a bottle of wine…pour yourself a glass and leave some to help deglaze the pan.

Next, ready your breading set-up.  Shallow bowls or plates with a lip on them, or even cake pans can work really well for this.

I was gifted these a few years ago and LOVE them.  They link together so you avoid the drippy egg all over the counter and they help maximize your workspace as they fit together tightly unlike round plates or bowls would.  When breading, remember wet sticks to dry and dry sticks to wet.  So start with the flour, the next pan should have the eggs lightly beaten and the last pan is for the breadcrumbs and don’t forget to season at each step.  I heavily season the chicken breast before the flour dredge and I usually season the egg with salt and pepper as well.

Next, put your pan on the heat and add some olive oil and a pat of butter…the oil has a higher smoke point and the butter helps things to brown nicely.  Once the pan is hot, gently lay the first chicken breast down.  I turn the heat up a bit at this point because as soon as you add your chicken, the pan will cool quite a bit.  If there’s room (don’t crowd the pan), add in the second chicken breast.  I turn the oven on warm (150-180º F) so I’ve got a warm place to hold the chicken while I make the sauce.

Turn the chicken breasts once the bottom side is browned handling them gently as you want to breading to stay on the chicken.  Remove the chicken from the pan once it is cooked through and the second side is browned as well – place on a plate in the oven.

Now it’s time for the sauce.  If there is a ton of oil in the pan, run a paper towel around to remove some of it without wiping up the little brown bits.  Next, throw in half of your lemon slices and some of the capers, and cook a bit as you want them to break down.  Remove the pan from the heat, and add the white wine to deglaze the pan and use a wooden spoon to get all the delicious browned bits up and incorporated into the sauce.  Add in the juice from 1 lemon, a dash of salt and pepper let all the liquids combine.  Before two much of the sauce has evaporated, add small and very cold chunks of butter to the pan and stir them in completely before adding the next chunk.  This is called mounting the sauce with butter.  The cold butter emulsifies and thickens the sauce.  Just before serving add in the rest of the capers, another few slices of lemon and the chopped parsley.  Plate the chicken, top with lemon and drizzle the sauce over and serve it with rice.

C’est Parfait!

Chicken Gorgonzola Pasta Salad with Bacon


D’Amico & Sons!  Ring a bell…?  If so, you probably live in Minnesota or Florida or have flown through MSP airport and had enough time to wander around for a bite to eat…and if this is so…you know what I’m talking about.

I wasn’t always one for pasta salads.  They were always bland and drenched in oil and vinegar and seemed to be a dumping ground for canned and often ignored veggies.  My nightmare of a pasta salad involves tri-color spiral pasta with a bottle of italian dressing, some canned sliced olives and if we are lucky…a dice of red bell pepper.  If that’s the best thing you can think of to do with some pasta…perhaps you should consider take-out!

Now that I’ve seen the light…I know the potential that lies in a well-thought-out pasta salad.  Think big…you probably can’t go wrong!  Visiting my husband’s family in Minneapolis, I was treated to D’Amico and Sons, and have been recreating various menu items ever since!

The weather has started to turn truly into spring in most of the country and what better way to welcome it than with a totally cold dish of hearty pasta?

Fun Fact:  Add buttermilk to regular mayonnaise and POOF!  You get ranch dressing.  No, really…nothing additional needed, unless you want it to look like ranch dressing, then you could add some things…ya know…like…herbs.  That’s it.  That’s all.  We were shocked – it tastes just exactly like ranch.  After we got over this fun little piece of info…we got on with the cooking chopping and mixing.

All ingredients in our version are just a guess…so we have chicken, not-all-the-way-sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, bacon and gorgonzola dressing.

I know it looks a little like butter…but it is actually really delicious creamy gorgonzola!  The dressing is simple…a little mayo, buttermilk, crumbled gorgonzola, salt and pepper.

Oh yeah, you’ll also need some pasta of your choice…cooked extra al dente!  Add the various components to the bowl, pour dressing over the top and drizzle.  Be conservative at first with the dressing, each piece should have a nice coating…but not be drowning in dressing.  Mix it up…then add the spinach.

Lastly, scoop onto a plate…and top with your perfectly cooked bacon crumbles!

Enjoy!

2011 Meals in Review | part two


as promised…

2011 Meals in Review | part two

July

Gorgonzola Chicken Pasta Salad (a la D’Amico & Sons)

German Potato Salad

Summer Tomato Caprese Stacks

Bastille Day & a Little Liberté with Scallion and Chive Smoked Salmon Spread

 

August

Sour Cream Verde Enchiladas

 

September

Heirloom Tomatoes Bread Salad with Burratta

Zucchini, Summer Squash and Brown Rice Casserole

 

October

Tomato and Gruyere Tart

served with a little salad

Fresh Linguine with Mizithra Cheese and Lightly Dressed Arugula

Traditional Beef Empanadas (made mini!)

A little sampling of delicious items…cheese, olives, toasts, etc.

Niçoise Salad

 

November

Pumpkin Pecan Biscotti

Brioche French Toast

No-Knead Bread

Gougeres

Red Tea, Beef & Sweet Potato Stew

Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good

Excuse the phone photo…but that’s what’s left of a scrumptious braised rabbit with pappardelle from this place.

Chestnut Pancetta Stuffing for Thanksgiving

My Thanksgiving plate…and no I didn’t overdo it!

Couldn’t be complete without a slice of pecan pie!

The morning after was no let-down with Pheasant and Waffles topped with a Fried Egg and Mushroom Thyme Gravy!!!

 

December

A weekend trip up north found us eating at the Culinary Institute of America’s restaurant in St. Helena.  The Tasting included 5 delectable bites to whet our appetites.

The polenta sitting under the magnificently cooked piece of beef was quite possibly the best thing on the table.

Duck Confit with a Poached Egg and Frisee

Krumkake Christmas Cookies

Christmas Eve bites including Cremenelli Salami – a little hometown pride!

Christmas Dinner – Tenderloin of Beef, Creamy Dill Carrots and Brussel Sprouts with Bacon

Turkey Tetrazzini

The BEST use of leftover beef ever…sliced beef tenderloin topped with a cold Bernaise sauce

And last but not least, Short Ribs Italiano served over Pappardelle!

 

We’re making some artichoke dip and about to head over to friends to ring in the new year!  Tonight is for looking back and tomorrow, we start fresh.

A Whole New Year!

Happy New Year!

2011 Meals in Review | part one


As I’m a bit behind these days, I noticed while perusing my photos from the past year in search of a couple photos for a new year’s card to send out, how many delicious moments we had in 2011.  What follows is not only what we made, but what we enjoyed! 

The delicious moments of 2011…


January

Rosemary Sea Salt Dinner Rolls (recipe credit: Pioneer Woman)

Creamy Pheasant and Wild Rice Soup

Orechiette with Pheasant, Bacon and Spinach

Butternut Squash, Shallot and Goat Cheese Pizza

Pot Roast…good the first time, better the second…

Cumin-scented Butternut Squash with Onions and Wild Rice

Pot Roast Ravioli

Homemade Fettuccini

Boboli’s done right…!  (yes, you are correct…that is an egg cracked on top peeking out from underneath the arugula and parm!

 

February

yummm…pancakes

Delicate Scrambled Eggs with Truffle Salt

A Birthday dinner at Bouchon

Cod Brandade with Tomato Confit and Fried Sage Leaves

Frisée aux Lardons et Oeuf Poché

Croque Madame

Back at home…Cheese Soufflé

Lump Crab Cakes

Valentine’s Day Cheese Fondue

Tempura and Cold Soba Noodles

Baby Artichoke Gratin (recipe credit: latimes.com)

 

March

Fancied-Up Burgers

Seared Scallops with Cream of Cauliflower Soup

Welsh Rarebit

 

April

April brought with it a trip to Vienna for Woody’s work…

Käsekrainer – near perfect street food

Beef Tartare with all the appropriate accoutrements

Veal Medallions

Finally in the homeland…a full plate of spätzle just for me!

A celebratory meal at Meinl am Graben began with a Veal Carpaccio for Woody

Tortellini with Consommé and Crisped Prosciutto

Honestly…I can hardly remember what exactly this course entailed…but I DO remember that it  was incredibly amazing!

The third course of our prix fixe…again…perfection!

Although I can’t say the name of the place…the fare was delicious

A trip to Vienna without Viennese coffee would be a crime!

Back at home…Pacific Spiny Lobster with Fava Beans and Meyer Lemon

Grilled Cheese Invitational…who says no to that…?

Burrata with Cherry Tomatoes…there were plenty more sandwiches and a lot more cheese, but most disappeared before I could get a shot!

And of course, an annual batch of Deviled Eggs for Easter!

 

May

Fried Chicken Salad with Goat Cheese

Onion & Bacon Tart

Minted English Pea & Lemony Feta Crostini

Another birthday was cause for a trip to the Los Olivos region, some wine tasting and of course a meal or two…

Bistro Burger

Spring Vegetable Pot Roast

Ebelskivers

Savory Lentil Salad

House guests meant a trip to the Original LA Farmer’s Market and an Oyster Po’ Boy

June

Chicken Garlic Sausage & Swiss Chard Flatbread

Potato Salad – Two Ways

Poppyseed Cake with Strawberries and Mascarpone Frosting

Part two coming soon…

DLW: Chicken Garlic Sausage & Swiss Chard Flatbread


Dinner Last Week::

I love when a delicious and distinctive meal comes out of whatever is lying around in the fridge.  I think it actually improves the whole meal experience…ya know, low expectations!  Maybe I should lower my expectations all the time and be pleasantly surprised when dinner is quick and delicious and did not require it’s very own trip to the store for exact ingredients!

This is one of those dinners!  Swiss chard that was on its way to being sad, some garlic chicken sausages from Trader Joe’s, just enough mozzarella, a quarter of a red onion and some pizza dough from the fridge.  I quickly sautéed the chard and sliced and browned the sausage a bit.  Seasoned with salt, pepper and herbs and drizzled with some garlic oil!  I also pre-bake the pizza dough as I find it stays a bit crispier.  Oven is preheated to 450º with a pizza stone, roll or stretch out the dough, load it into the oven for 4-6 minutes, just until it is firm enough to pull out in one piece without ripping or tearing.  Toss all the ingredients on top and throw it back in the oven for another 3-6 minutes.

Poof!  Flatbread!

dinner last week…Quick Chicken Parmesan!


So you arrive home from work.  You’re hungry.  You want something home-cooked and comforting and you’re hoping it can magically appear in front of you any moment now.

Throw this quick dish together (with the help of Trader’s Joe’s).

Find a small bag of pasta in your pantry that you’ve been ignoring because it isn’t quite enough for a full meal, cook that up.  In the meantime, get the oven going according to the package of frozen breaded chicken tenders from Trader Joe’s and bake them for a bit.  If you’re like us, you probably have a half of a jar of some kind of pasta or marinara sauce in your fridge, so warm that up.  Now put everything together.  Toss the cooked pasta with some of the sauce and layer in an oven proof dish.  Place chicken tenders on top, cover with additional sauce, and top with some mozzarella cheese.  Put the whole dish back in the oven on broil for a few minutes.  Watch it carefully…when it’s bubbly, pull it out and serve it up.

Tada!  Chicken Parmesan!  Top with some fresh parmigianno and a sprinkle of fresh parsley!

Weeknight Herb Roast Chicken


Roasting a chicken…although daunting in name is really quite simple…and easily done on a weeknight.  A roast chicken also provides leftovers a-plenty for the rest of the week’s lunches.

This recipe is a take on an Ina Garten recipe for the Perfect Roast Chicken.  First, remove giblets from the cavity.  Cut up vegetables, including new potatoes, carrots and red onions…and place them in the roasting pan with a little olive oil and salt and pepper.  Preheat the oven to 425º F and begin seasoning the chicken.

Use whatever herbs you have on hand – and use them liberally.  I tucked two large basil leaves under the skin on the breasts, and tucked a few chunks of onion and carrot into the chicken cavity along with some butter, a sizable amount of salt, some pepper and a few sprigs of rosemary and basil leaves.  Make sure to season the outside of the chicken with salt, pepper, herbs and rub the skin with a little softened butter as well.  Tuck the wings underneath and then tie the legs together (or use high-tech hot pink silicon bindings like I did).

While you wait for your chicken to roast, why not enjoy some of the last tomatoes of the year (yep, we’ve still got them…not trying to brag!) in a refreshing caprese salad drizzled with some Arbequina olive oil and some aged balsamic vinegar.

The chicken will only take between 60 to 90 minutes…you can check it with a thermometer, or wiggle the drumstick, or check to see if the juices run clear – really whatever you’re comfortable with.  You can always crank on the broiler for the last few minutes if the skin doesn’t look deliciously toasty, crispy and caramel in color.  Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside to let rest.

At this point you can check the vegetables for doneness and seasoning.

Carve up the chicken and bring to the table along with the vegetables for serving.  I had a surplus of green beans from our CSA – so I quick-roasted them with a little olive oil on high heat once the chicken came out of the oven.

Sit down and enjoy.  (And then enjoy for lunch the next day as chicken salad, or as a pasta salad with chicken, or slice for a chicken sandwich, etc. – you get the idea!)

 

Almond Chicken Makhani


Almond butter…the reason for this recipe…so simple and so good…and really…why not make your own.  It takes hardly any time, and you can control the salt and what kind of oil and how much to add!  If you haven’t done this before…do it.  It is an interesting exercise to see what flavor you get…and how much salt is necessary for your tastes…and there are hundreds of recipes that involve some kind of nut butter.

Start with almonds, throw them into the food processor and grind away.   It will be very loud!  You might have to yell to hear yourself think!

Continue to grind, and it will begin to look mealy.  If you like your nut butter chunky…you have a couple of options.  You could grind a completely smooth batch, and then add some roughly chopped almonds, or you can grind a portion of the nuts to the consistency you want and then add whole nuts for a few more pulses of the blade.

You will need to add oil at some point, otherwise, you will have more of a nut paste.  Remember also, that the type of oil you use will have an impact on the flavor as well…so I would stay away from very strongly flavored oils, unless your goal is to make a garlic almond butter to use in savory dishes…just don’t plan on making any nut butter and jelly sandwiches.  And, salt really helps bring out the flavor of any nut butter and is overly present in many commercial varieties.

On to the task at hand.  Chicken Makhani!

If I had known that this was this easy to make…I would have saved many a take-out night when we lived in Boston.  Makhani was one of the first Indian dishes that I explored…and turns out…I loved it.  And who wouldn’t…the description on almost any Indian restaurant’s menu of ‘butter chicken‘ is pretty irresistible.  I recognize, that this is not a completely authentic makhani recipe…but the basic flavor profile is there.  I swapped out typically used cashews for almonds and yogurt for milk.  Perhaps I’ve misnamed…but it is what my mouth thought of!

Almond Chicken Makhani
recipe adapted from www.morepleasebymargie.blogspot.com

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
4 (6 oz / 170 g) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Salt and pepper to taste

Spice Blend:
1.5 tablespoons  garam masala seasoning
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Sauce:
4 tablespoons  butter
1 large onion, cut in half pole to pole
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
⅓ cup almond butter
⅓ cup  milk
½ to ¾ cup  chicken broth or water, more as needed
1 cup frozen peas

Cook the chicken.  Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper to taste. Heat 1 teaspoon (5 ml) olive oil a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. If needed, cook the chicken in two batches to avoid crowding the pan.  Set aside on clean plate and keep warm.

Prepare spice blend. Stir garam masala, ginger, cinnamon, and pepper together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Melt the butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion (I sliced half the onion in strips and left the other half whole) and cook gently for several minutes to infuse the butter with onion flavor. Keep the heat low to avoid burning the butter; a little color is fine.

Add the spice blend and garlic and cook for 1 minute or till fragrant, stirring constantly.

Add the tomato sauce, stir well, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer.

Whisk in almond butter and milk until thoroughly combined with tomato sauce. The almond butter is thick so it takes a while to make a smooth sauce. Return to simmer.

Add broth or water (I used water) to sauce to reach desired consistency; return to simmer. Add more broth (or water) as needed to thin sauce as desired.

Remove onion (the half or both halves if you followed the recipe exactly) from sauce and discard. Stir frozen peas into sauce. Transfer chicken to sauce. Simmer gently for a few minutes until peas and chicken are heated through.

Serve chicken and sauce over rice. Garnish with fresh cilantro and a few sliced almonds.

This was great on the table that night…and even better as leftovers the next few days.  I would make one change when making this again…as the flavors were a little heavy on the cinnamon.  Woody remarked that our kitchen smelled like a CinnaBon stand when I reheated it the following night.  It is a definite keeper,  as a recipe and a method!

Dilled Zucchini Soup with Chicken Sausage


I know you have zucchini and summer squash.  How do I know this?  Because it is the middle of July and you’ve probably planted at least 1 (if not 3) zucchini plants and maybe a summer squash and a few patty pans…?  You watered these plants…and hoped for the perfect amount of sunshine and warmth.  Maybe you were busy for a few days or away for a weekend…and then all of a sudden…unbeknownst to you…your plants have taken over your entire garden…your entire yard…and are pondering what kind of defenses you might have around the house.  You’re also concerned you may have been watering the garden with some kind of superfood…as those zucchini that, last time you looked, were cute and just about ready to pick at 6 inches long…they have now swelled to be somewhere between enormous and unreasonably long and are almost the size of your thigh.  Don’t worry…this happens every summer.  Now you must put these zucchini back in their place…you must use them in all manner and let them know that you’re watching.  You’re keeping your eyes on those zucchini…boundaries have been set.  It’s time to cook.

Unfortunately we didn’t get any zucchini plants of our own in this year…but I can’t resist buying them at every farmer’s market I visit.  Zucchini is summer to me.  My dad used to find 18 ways to use up all of our garden zucchini…and I like every one of them.  Zucchini bread, zucchini sautéed with herbs, zucchini pancakes, grated zucchini, zucchini fritters…the list goes on…and reminds me I’ve got a lot of cooking to do this summer. We needed to use our zucchini and summer squash and decided on a soup…which I promised Woody would be quick…(it’s never as quick as I say it will be – but don’t tell Woody that).

Start with onions (that’s pretty much a rule…start with onions).  Sauté in butter.  We had found these amazing tiny little marble sized potatoes that unfortunately were just a bit past their prime needed to be used.  (Dear Kitchen, please stop making our potatoes sprout within one day of purchase when we store them in a dark cupboard! – any thoughts/ideas/helpful hints/secret passwords are much appreciated)

We boiled the potatoes for 5 minutes…just so they were par-cooked and wouldn’t have to boil in the soup forever.  I threw in some garlic (actually a lot of garlic) and all the sliced and diced zucchini and summer squash we had in the house and some fresh dill.  I let these heat through…tossed ‘em around a bit, seasoned with salt and pepper and then added some water.  I can hear you gasp…”‘water…?  why not broth…?”  I wanted a cleaner flavor, and broth can sometimes take a very light and pure vegetable flavor and bring it down.  Make it feel like a winter soup, heavy and hearty.  And water is just one of those ingredients you’ll never run out of.

Once everything was sufficiently simmered…the immersion blender (quite possibly my favorite kitchen appliance) comes out…and…POOF!  You made soup.  When blending, follow a few simple guidelines.  First, remove your pan from the heat.  Second, make sure there is enough substance to cover the small holes surrounding the blade protector – otherwise, all the time you saved making soup will be spent wiping down every known surface in a 6 foot radius of your soup pot…pour into a smaller pot if necessary.  Third, blend, blend and blend some more…unless you want it chunky – then don’t blend as much.  I love soups that are incredibly smooth and if you plan on enjoying this soup cold…a chunky cold soup can seem wrong.  Fourth, you may need to thin the mixture to get the consistency right…add slowly…as taking liquid out is impossible at this stage.

Now is the time to taste as well…make sure your seasonings are right.  Taste and taste again.  I also added a dash of cream…just for mouth feel really.  And I can’t resist making pretty designs in the soup.

We happened to have some slightly sweet chicken sausages, so we browned them up, sliced them, laid them in a bowl, poured the soup around and POOF!  Dinner.  I garnished with a little fresh dill and some finely diced red bell pepper.

Pretty good for not having planned dinner that night.  This soup is amazing the next day served cold.  I only wish I had had some fresh lump crab meat to pile on or maybe a seared scallop…or even perhaps a ball of fresh mozzarella with a drizzle of olive oil.

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